If you're anything like me, you want to do your part to "go green," but how do you know where to start? You may be an avid curbside recycler, but do you know how to dispose of old batteries, paint, and televisions? Are you looking for tips on how to save energy? Do you want to learn more about solar panels and if they're right for your home?
It can be difficult to find the answers to these and other questions. This website is intended to link our residents and businesses to the resources right here in our region to help them "go green." It is intended to let our citizens, as well as visitors from around the world, know what Pittsburgh is doing to become a green City.
While I'm proud of the steps the City is taking to "go green," I know that to become a truly sustainable City, we need all of our residents and businesses to do their part.
I'm excited to share with you the first City of Pittsburgh Sustainability website and hope that it will be a useful resource. Together, we can ensure that Pittsburgh is a green City for future generations.
Mayor, City of Pittsburgh
We hear a lot about "going green" and "sustainability" in the media and in conversation almost everyday, but what does it really mean?
One of the first definitions of environmental sustainability was created by the United Nations Bruntland Commission in 1987, describing sustainable development as "development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."
The sustainability movement is not just about environmental protection, but rather about finding a careful balance between the environment, economics, and social justice.
In the City of Pittsburgh, we believe that sustainability means operating in such a way that we lessen our impact on the environment, while finding ways to save money, improve the services we provide to citizens, and grow the economy. It also means living our lives in such a way that we do not diminish the ability of future generations to also produce and thrive.
In October 2008, Mayor Ravenstahl hired the City's first-ever Sustainability Coordinator and created the Office of Sustainability and Energy Efficiency to provide guidance on greening the City's operations and facilities.
The Sustainability Coordinator is tasked with implementing the municipal recommendations of the Pittsburgh Climate Action Plan, adopted in August 2008, as well as collaborating with individuals from all departments to strengthen existing environmental initiatives and ensure that sustainability is integrated into all City operations. Learn more about the City's climate protection initiatives.
Since its creation, the office has led initiatives to reduce energy use in City-owned buildings, utilize solar energy in City operations and involve citizens through activities like recycling and tree planting. To learn about these projects and how you can get involved in making Pittsburgh a green city, explore the links on the right.
In February 2009, Mayor Ravenstahl created the City Sustainability Committee, an internal steering body to guide the sustainability initiatives of the City. In November 2009, City Council adopted a code change to make this an official commission of the City.
The Sustainability Commission has eleven members- the Sustainability Coordinator, the Energy and Utilities Manager, the Recycling Supervisor, the Urban Forester, and a representative of the Mayor's Office, City Council, Public Works, City Planning, Public Safety, Personnel, and Finance.